Basic Bike Cleaning & Maintenance
Like any cyclist, you want your bike to last as many years as possible after all, bikes are not cheap (especially the good ones).
How often you service your bicycle depends on how much mileage you put on it every week. It is recommended that you service your bike every 150 miles or so. If you do this kind of distance every week you should set aside a few hours in the week to service your bicycle. If you don’t cycle that much it is okay to service your bicycle at least once a month. Although some people prefer to take their bicycles to a professional for maintenance, you can save some money and do it yourself if you learn how to cover the basic areas. Here are some things that you can do yourself:
Bicycle tire pressure
Pressure is important if you want to cycle fast and smoothly. The amount of pressure that your bike tires should have is determined by how wide they are. If they are narrow you will need more pressure than if they are wide. In addition to that, the kind of bike that you have will also determine the amount of pressure the tires should have. A regular bike for everyday use will usually need between 80 and 130 psi. If, however, you are dealing with hybrid tires this comes down to between 50 and 70 psi. Check what the manufacturer says about your bikes tires. Floor pumps with a dial gauge are best for inflating bike tires on a regular basis as the small hand held ones can take a long time. They can be bought cheaper than you think on line.
Chain cleaning and Maintenance
As a cyclist, it is important that you maintain a clean bike chain at all times. Although many bike maintenance shops take the chain off the bike completely in order to clean it, you don’t have to do that if you are cleaning it at home. You can buy a simple degreaser from your bike shop and it is pretty easy to use. One section contains the brushes while the other contains the degreaser itself. This is a good video show how to use the cheap and convenient chain cleaning tools. Don’t forget to add some cycling specific chain lube once the chain is clean again. Do not ever use WD-40 on a bike chain – it is not designed for bike chains and will actually do damage to your chain in the long run.
Adjusting bike gears for smooth shifting
Gears are very important if you want to have a smooth ride on your bike. Although it may sound like a complicated task, adjusting bike gears is something that you can do at home. You can find step by step instructions on this link. There are also video tutorials that you can watch on YouTube. It may seem difficult the first time you do it but it gets easier with time.
Changing a bike tire or tube
You don’t want to take your bike to a bike repair shop every time you have a flat tire. Even people who are not very handy are able to do it by themselves. Again, there are many videos on YouTube that take you step by step through the process.
Lastly, always keep in mind that when you miss to service your bicycle on time you are shortening its life sooner or later you will have to replace it with a new one.